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All about baby mice

Baby mice may appear harmless, but they’re also an indicator of a mouse infestation in your home. For where there is one baby mouse, there is a litter. And where there is a litter of baby mice, there are full-grown adult mice that require your attention.

Are baby mice dangerous? Baby mice are completely helpless creatures on their own. They are born blind and hairless. Newborn mice are also deaf, as their ears don’t develop until they’re about a week old. Baby mice mature rather quickly. Like all mammals, mice nurse on their mother’s milk before moving to solid food (anything they can find in your kitchen). But mice are weaned just three weeks into their infancy. By comparison, most kittens stop nursing after eight to ten weeks.

Most importantly, both male and female mice can begin breeding as soon as they are five to six weeks old. Mice are polygamous, and they breed regardless of the season. Mice, being nocturnal, also breed at night, with males issuing high-pitched mating calls to any females in the area.

How many babies do mice have? Female mice enter a period of estrus, or are “in heat,” every four to five days. Female mice carry their young for about three weeks, and the average size of each litter they deliver is between five and twelve pups. One mother mouse can even be nursing one litter while she is waiting to deliver another litter. Each “mouse mother” can be pregnant up to ten times per year, meaning each female mouse can produce nearly 300 baby mice over the course of her two- to three-year lifespan. In summary: mice breed often, they breed rapidly and they do not stop breeding unless they are exterminated.

How can you get rid of baby mice? Eliminating baby mice from your home means eliminating their parents. If you notice common signs of a mouse population in your home, such as droppings, evidence of gnawing on food items and packaging or squeaking and scurrying within your walls, you will want to take immediate action. Recommendations for mouse repellent abound. Some homeowners swear by non-toxic solutions such as cotton soaked in essential (100 percent) peppermint oil or clove oil, common dryer sheets and even mothballs.Some homeowners also set out bait (peanut butter seems to be a mouse delicacy) and cage traps, and release any rodents caught by these means into the wild—far enough away from their property to ensure the mice do not return.

However, the best way to keep mice from entering your home is to make sure it does not provide an attractive and cozy place for them to settle. Keep your kitchen clean and make sure all packaged foods are securely sealed. Consider transferring boxed and bagged pantry items such as breakfast cereals, flour, sugar, etc., to airtight plastic containers or steel canisters. Do not allow tempting mouse nesting materials to accumulate in your garage, basement or around the outside of your home. Dispose of empty cardboard boxes, make sure old clothes and linens are stored in rodent-proof containers and keep the landscaping around your home's foundation tidy. Be sure to seal any cracks or gaps around your home’s foundation, in your walls and especially around electrical outlets and pipe fixtures in your kitchen. Some homeowners suggest blocking cracks and open spaces around these common problem areas with a mixture of copper wool and caulk or foam sealant, as mice have difficulty chewing through these materials.

If you find that none of these methods prevent more baby mice from making a mess of your home, or if your mice problem just feels too big to handle on your own, remember you can always rely on the assistance of a Terminix® pest management professional.